Faber and Faber
Macavity is a narrative poem, or story, and is one of the few poems by T S Eliot written for children (published in the collection, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, 1939). Macavity is a mysterious and magical cat, a devious criminal who is too clever to be caught but who certainly captures our imagination. He is infamous for his life of crime and known variously as the Mystery Cat, the Hidden Paw, and the Napoleon of Crime. The poem has a wonderful rhythm and is great to read or perform aloud.
Available as an illustrated poem in a picture book version, or as part of the collection.
Talk about the poem
Talk about anything puzzling that happens in the story and any unfamiliar words eg levitation, fakir, depravity, suavity, or Admiralty. You could use a dictionary or online version to find out what they mean
Talk about the character – what he did, what he’s like and how he escapes detection.
Things to make and do
Perform the poem
Make a cat mask and wear it to act out some scenes of Macavity’s crimes and disappearances. Think about how he’d move.
Here are instructions for making a mask.
Make a ‘Wanted’ poster
Draw a portrait of Macavity, referring to the descriptive details in the poem for accuracy.
Write a brief caption explaining his crimes and offer a reward!
Make a flap book
Take two sheets of A4 paper, landscape, and fold in half to make a book. Use the front page as a book cover and then use each page to illustrate each verse of the poem. You can add a flap to hide Macavity, so he’s not there when the detectives arrive.
Find out more
See our print-off activity book with some of these ideas and other activities.